Monday, June 24, 2019

Prof. Miller Tesitfies on HR40 and the Path to Restorative Justice Before House Judiciary Subcommittee

Professor Eric Miller testified the following during the House Judiciary Committee Hearing on HR40 and the Path to Restorative Justice held Wednesday, June 19, 2019. Read his prepared remarks below or watch the recording of the testimony.

I will speak to my experience as an academic studying the issue of reparations and a lawyer representing the victims of the Tulsa massacre of 1921 in a reparations lawsuit against the state of Oklahoma and the city of Tulsa. In the short time available, I want to make the following points:

1. Local, state and federal governments were active perpetrators of race-targeted discrimination against, and domination of, African-Americans during slavery and Jim Crow.

2. These governmental institutions engaged in the massive social, political, economic, and cultural destruction of African American communities and individuals.

3. Many of the perpetrators and victims of race-targeted state action are readily identifiable through a thorough investigation of existing historical records in the hands of public and private institutions.

4. The race based disparities brought about by federal, state, and local government discrimination remain baked into our governmental institutions as well as the persistently segregated private social ordering those institutions brought about.

5. Reparations addresses the ways in which these institutions entrenched race-based discrimination and domination throughout American social, cultural, economic, and political institutions.

6. The committee should consider specific legal remedies to remove the time-limited bars against litigation, which are the major impediment preventing the identifiable victims of extraordinary race-targeted state action to sue state and federal governments for financial damages.

7. Reparations must also include rebuilding the social political economic and cultural infrastructure of the communities destroyed by the state.

8. Without social, cultural, and political reparations, race neutral programs of economic uplift will preserve the relative social and political disadvantage, domination, and disempowerment of African Americans across this nation.

The urgent need for the HR40 Commission, and reparations as the path to restorative justice for the victims’ state-sponsored racial injustice, became clear to me in 2003. That is when I joined the Reparations Coordinating Committee, a group of lawyers led by Charles Ogletree and Adjoa Aiyetoro. Our legal team filed suit representing the more than one-hundred still living survivors of the Tulsa, Oklahoma Race Massacre of 1921.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The California Consumer Protection Act: Groundbreaking, but will it be enforced?

By Loyola Law School Lecturer and Reference Librarian Tobe Liebert

Privacy of consumer information is a topic that has received a huge amount of attention in recent years, fueled by the growing public sense that Internet and technology companies are not acting as good guardians of customer information.  With the recent passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act (the CCPA) California thrust itself into the forefront of the debate over what laws are needed to provide adequate privacy and security for personal information.  The CCPA, which will become effective on January 1, 2020, goes far towards creating privacy safeguards in line with the expansive protections found in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (the GDPR).  But the act remains a work in progress, and there are some serious questions about how vigorously it can be enforced.

One of the most contentious issues discussed during the enactment of the CCPA was whether a “private cause of action” should be included in the act.  A private cause of action refers to the issue of whether a private citizen may bring a civil action to claim damages for violations of the act.  If not, then actions to remedy violations can only be brought by the state, acting through the Attorney General’s office.  Proponents of the inclusion of a private cause of action argued that compliance with the provisions of the CCPA would be much more likely if companies were faced with the possibility of civil actions brought by trial lawyers for violations of the law.  Opponents of a private cause of action believed that it would lead to a flood of lawsuits, imposing a huge and expensive burden on businesses in California.

Child Litigants Need to Have Counsel

By Professor Kevin Lapp

This op-ed originally appeared in the Monday, May 13, 2019 edition of the Daily Journal

For the second time in three years, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals avoided answering the urgent issue of whether child respondents in immigration removal (deportation) proceedings have a due process right to counsel at government expense. The case, C.J.L.G. v. Barr, 2019 DJDAR 3782 (May 3, 2019), involved a Honduran adolescent who appeared in immigration court accompanied only by his mother. C.J.L.G. sought asylum based on his fear of persecution for being a member of a particular social group, a legal claim so complex that it regularly confounds attorneys and judges alike. He was also apparently eligible for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS), but neither C.J.L.G., his mother, nor the immigration judge raised that form of relief at his hearing, and he was ordered deported. On appeal, C.J.L.G. argued that his hearing was unfair and that due process required that child litigants like him be provided counsel at government expense.
C.J.L.G.’s immigration hearing was all too usual. Each year, tens of thousands of minors appear without a lawyer in immigration proceedings, some as young as two and three years old. Data show that, unsurprisingly, unrepresented minors are significantly more likely to be ordered deported than represented minors. The government nevertheless insists that adversarial proceedings against unrepresented children comport with due process.
The fully briefed right to appointed counsel claim was presumably the reason the 9th Circuit chose to hear C.J.L.G. en banc. Yet, as it did three years ago, it avoided the issue. (In J.E.F.M. v. Lynch (2016), the 9th Circuit held in the context of a class action that there was no jurisdiction over a constitutional right to counsel claim raised by minor respondents.) Instead, the court ordered a new hearing because the immigration judge failed to inform C.J.L.G. of his apparent eligibility for SIJS. It then dropped a footnote to explain that because C.J.L.G. has since secured counsel, and will be represented on remand before the Immigration Court, it need not address the constitutional right to appointed counsel claim.
The 9th Circuit’s decision is certainly a victory for C.J.L.G. and other pro se children who may be eligible for SIJS. The court found error in his proceedings, and he now has an opportunity, aided by counsel, to fully present his case for relief. But to avoid the right to appointed counsel issue (again) is, in practice, to decide it. And it is to decide it in a way that necessarily leaves thousands of child litigants, who either cannot afford a lawyer or who have not lucked into pro bono counsel, to defend themselves against trained government prosecutors in proceedings that involve a notoriously complex area of law.
Strikingly, C.J.L.G.'s case demonstrates exactly why child respondents need lawyers to ensure the fairness of their proceedings. Recall that the 9th Circuit found that the immigration judge failed to inform C.J.L.G. of a possible form of relief as he was required to do. Neither the presence of a friendly adult nor the immigration judge’s duty to develop the record were sufficient safeguards. If C.J.L.G. had not secured counsel after he was ordered deported, the error in his case would have never come to light. He would have been just another child deported after an unfair hearing. Nevertheless, because of C.J.L.G.’s fortune in securing a lawyer, thousands of children who do not share his good luck will continue to go without a lawyer in proceedings that are just as likely as his to be unfair.